Thursday December 1, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier First Week of Advent
Reading (Isaiah 26:1-6) Gospel (St. Matthew 7:21, 24-27)
In the first reading today, the prophet Isaiah says to us, A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock. The Lord never changes. He is unmovable; He is absolutely stable. Consequently, when Our Lord tells us in the Gospel reading that the one who builds his house on rock is going to be perfectly fine, the winds will come and the rains and so on, but nothing is going to happen to the house because it is firmly set on rock. Anything other than God is not a rock. Consequently, if we are trying to build our lives on anything other than God, we are building it on the sand, on things that are changeable, on things that are unstable. When the winds come and the rains and so on, the house is going to shift and eventually it is going to collapse. The worst of all, of course, is the eternal collapse. The house that we are talking about is our lives. We have a choice of where we are going to build our house. If our house is not built solidly on rock, that is, on Jesus, on God Who is the Rock, then we have completely failed and we will completely fail in the end because we have chosen something which is completely untrustworthy.
But Our Lord also makes clear to us that this trust that we have to have in Him is what is going to bring us peace. When you think about your own household, one of the things people desire more than anything within their own house is peace. They want to be able to come home to a peaceful place. They want to be able to walk into their house and be able to leave the problems of the world behind them; they want peace within. Well, that is exactly what God wants for you in the house of your life. He wants that peace. The winds are going to blow and the rains are going to come, but if you know that your house is firm and it is built on solid rock, you know that you do not have anything to worry about even if the weather is horrible. Spiritually speaking, things are going to happen, things are going to be difficult. We all know that if we are going to do it God’s way we are going to get pummeled pretty good. Yet as long as we are built on God, we are going to be able to be at peace. There is nothing to fear because the house is not going to fall because, as Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Romans: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change; He cannot change. Everything in the world is going to change. Everything of culture is going to change. Everything human is going to change. There is only One Who is unchangeable; there is only One Who is the Rock, and that is God Himself. That is where our house must be firmly built, solid on the Rock of Jesus Christ.
Even when you think about it, Jesus, when He built His own Church, built it solidly on rock. You are Peter, He said, and on this rock I will build My Church. The foundation is ultimately Jesus. As Saint Paul tells us: No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has already been laid–and that is Jesus Christ. And He built it on top of the prophets and apostles. So we have the foundation already there, are we willing to build upon it? We have Christ, we have the apostles and the prophets, and we have two thousand years of saints. The building is in great shape. The winds are blowing and the rains are buffeting the house, but it does not matter. As long as we are built on that one foundation, we can be at peace. It has not fallen and it will not fall because it has a guarantee that the jaws of hell will never prevail against it. As long as we are part of the house of God, as long as we are building upon the foundation that God Himself has laid–because the foundation is God Himself–then we can be at peace. As long as we are trusting in Him, we have nothing to fear; it is just that simple. But the choice, of course, is ours. We can choose where we are going to build. There is plenty of sand, if that is where you want to build, but we have already been told what the result will be. There is only one Rock, and that foundation is already laid. It is now simply for us to build upon it.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.